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coverpic flag US - Maryland - Full Moon 152 - 02/09/09

Wilderness
(K)no(w)here
Jagjaguwar

After the mis-step that was 2006's massively disappointing Vessel States, I'm delighted that Wilderness' third album (K)no(w)here is a return to the dizzying heights of their 2005 self-titled debut. All the elements that make a Wilderness album sound so good are present and correct: thunderous toms, clanging post-punk guitar lines, surging bass, and James Johnson's distinctive vocalising.

If anything, (K)no(w)here is even more accomplished an album than their debut. There are less obvious standout moments, but the overall structure of the album is mightily impressive. There's a true sense of narrative - although, as usual with Wilderness, it's pretty difficult to discern exactly what Johnson's on about, as he often just yelps rather than attempting his usual fractured poetry. Occasionally the vocals can get a bit much, especially on the closing track, but make for a distinctive compliment to the angular thrust of the guitars.

Its main strength lies in the fluid instrumental interplay, the kind that has me air-drumming incessantly. Each song flows beautifully into the next through the careful deployment of repetitive chiming guitar lines, creating a continuous suite of ominous, edgy songs that stand up to repeat plays.

If I had to fault (K)no(w)here it would be in the stupid parentheses of the title, and the hideous cover. But the music is simultaneously bleak yet life-affirming stuff.

Copyright © 2009 Tim Clarke e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Wilderness articles/reviews: Vessel States, Wilderness.

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